Manali to Shimla by Road – Distance, Time and Useful Travel Information

As the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is one of the oldest and the most popular hill stations in Northern India. With stunning views of the Himalayan peaks, alpine forests, and an undeniable colonial charm; Shimla is truly the Queen of the Himalayas. The bustling Himalayan town of Shimla is the perfect order among chaos, albeit with breathtaking views of mountains and valleys. From the golden sunshine in the summers to the charming, white wonderland of the winters, every season paints a different picture.

With our customizable trip plans and itineraries, you can do more than just a regular road trip from Manali to Shimla, and enjoy a comfortable ride, while making your journey interesting at the same time

Table of Contents

  1. Why travel from Manali to Shimla?
  2. Travelling from Manali to Shimla by Car
  3. Best time to take a road trip from Manali to Shimla by car
  4. Popular routes to travel from Manali to Shimla
  5. Other means of traveling
    1. How to Reach Shimla By Train
    2. How to Reach Shimla By Flight
  6. Attractions in Shimla for Sightseeing
  7. Savaari recommends – Popular places to eat in Shimla
  8. Hotels and Resorts – Accommodation in Shimla

Why travel from Manali to Shimla?

The route between Manali and Shimla is certainly one of the most popular ones in North India, for a quick road trip or a weekend getaway. And by booking a Manali cab with Savaari, you also get the chance to customize your whole trip, including the itinerary, so you can make it an incredible travel experience!

manali to shimla by road

Travelling from Manali to Shimla by Car

From one mountain locale to another, a Shimla trip from Manali by car is the best way to travel and makes the experience wonderful. It is also a popular route in the state for road trips.

When you book Manali to Shimla trip packages from Savaari, you can certainly have a great time driving down the serpentine highways, flanked by pine forests, hilly hamlets, and picture-perfect views of the great Himalayas. And thus, your Shimla trip from Manali will become a delightful experience.

Best time to take a road trip from Manali to Shimla by car

Like any other Himalayan region in India, Manali also enjoys alpine weather, making it cold and frosty in the winter and pleasant in the summer. The rainy season, however, is not recommended to travel around this region.

Therefore, depending upon your season preference, you can choose to visit in the colder months and experience its snow views (if it snows) and New Year festivities.

But if you want to experience the place in full bloom and greener cover, the summer months are the best time to visit Manali to Shimla by car. It is during this time the landscape is at its cheery best. The warmer months are also great for driving down from Shimla and enjoying the ride without the windchill. 

Popular Routes from Manali to Shimla

Manali to Shimla via NH3 and NH205 

The Manali to Shimla distance is approximately 250 KM and takes nearly 8 hours to travel. You can most probably expect regular Manali to Shimla traffic, but certainly no severe congestion. Before you travel, always check for traffic updates and use live maps to get real-time information on Manali to Shimla road conditions. 

Here’s a basic Manali to Shimla road map for this route:

Manali — Kullu– Bhuntar—Mandi– Bilaspur–Darlaghat— Shimla
manali to shimla via NH43

Popular sights/monuments that you will encounter along this route:

The route between Shimla and Manali is as scenic as it can get. Therefore, you can stop at any of these places and experience what each pit stop has to offer. 

  • Naggar Castle, Naggar – This ancient castle is a must-see on the Shimla-Manali route. Made with stones and solid timber, the 15th-century castle boasts ethnic architecture. Although now it’s a heritage hotel, the main castle is kept intact for visitors to explore.; 
  • Chandrakhani Pass, Kullu – One of the best highlights of Kullu district has to be a lush enclave of alpine forests and gurgling streams. 
  • Pandoh Dam, Mandi – A little outside Mandi town, you will find this beautiful dam. However, it requires a short trek up a small hill to get a complete view of the dam and the surrounding landscape.
  • Prashar Lake, Mandi – A few miles off the highway at Mandi, you will land at the crystal clear lake atop 9000 feet. This is also a popular base for long treks to the upper ranges of Himalayas. Do not forget to capture stunning views of Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal, and Kinnaur mountain ranges from the lakeside.
  • Great Himalayan National Park, Tirthan Valley – Known for its rich biodiversity with exotic Himalayan flora and fauna, this is one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries of Himachal. To reach there, one has to take the road towards Shoja from Mandi. You can also stop overnight and camp in the forests or try a day trek, for which you can plan your itinerary ahead. 
  • Aut – A lesser-known village on the banks of the Beas River, Aut is a cozy little hamlet. Enjoy your time here driving through the long, tunneled roads, grab a cup of tea along the way, or just admire the views.
  • Gobind Sagar Lake, Bilaspur – You will have to take a detour from Bilaspur junction to reach the water body. The lake is also the catchment area of the Bhakra-Nangal dam, which can be best seen from the other side at Nangal. You can spend some time at the tranquil lakeside and enjoy the natural beauty along with some cool air. 
Naggar Castle
Naggar Castle

Places to eat along this route:

  • Chawla’s, Mandi – one of the oldest eateries on this highway offering Punjabi delicacies and is certainly popular among travelers.
  • Bahadur/Bhadure Ka Dhaba, Bilaspur – popular local eatery, offering traditional meals and quick bites. 
  • Café Madana, Sundernagar – casual local eatery serving all meals, all day, and good for big groups and kid-friendly.
  • Musician Dhaba, Shalaghat – local eatery serving authentic Himachali food, and a good place to stop for breakfast, tea, and in-between snacking.

Manali to Shimla Road Condition Via NH3 and NH205

NH3 and NH205 is the only route recommended by Google maps. Regular travelers also take this route, since the Manali to Shimla road traffic here is also light, but you can expect high traffic during peak tourist season (March to May or December).

Before you travel, always check for live traffic updates or real-time maps to get a better understanding of the Manali to Shimla road condition.

Savaari travel magazine


Other means of traveling from Manali to Shimla

You can also travel from Manali to Shimla by train or flight. 

How to reach Shimla by Train

There are no direct trains from Manali to Shimla. There is only one train route to and from Shimla, which is via Kalka. You can take a train to reach Kalka from nearby cities. But from Manali, you will have to take a car or a bus to reach Shimla.

You should always check with Indian Railways for updated train timings from Kalka. 

How to reach Shimla by Flight

The nearest airport from both the towns is Kullu Airport (KUU). You can take a Kullu airport taxi to reach Shimla. 

Attractions in Shimla for sightseeing

One can spend an entire week exploring the town but Shimla is not just about the Mall Road or sitting at the Ridge. For a perfect Shimla tour, you have to explore beyond the town and head to the quaint villages and hilly hamlets that dot this region. Make the most of your Shimla trip with our tips and suggestions. You can always book a tempo traveller in Shimla in case you are travelling in a large group.

  • Some of the most popular and prominent places for Shimla sightseeing are Jakhoo Temple, Kali Bari Temple, Christ Church, The Ridge, and Himachal State Museum.
  • You can also visit the meadows of Annandale which also houses a golf course and offers scenic mountain views. 
  • Shimla tourism also offers scenic treks to Chadwick Falls and Summer Hills near the town.
  • Go for a tour of Naldehra for the ultimate mountain holiday experience.
  • If you are traveling in summer, then do visit the Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary and experience Himalayan wildlife.

Savaari recommends – Popular places to eat in Shimla

  • Sita Ram and Sons, Lakkad Market
  • Café Shimla Times, Hotel Willow Banks,
  • Cecil Restaurant, The Mall, Mall Road.
  • Himachali Rasoi, Middle Bazar, Mall Road.
  • Café Sol, Mall Road.
  • Ashiana Grand, Ridge, Mall Road.
  • Hideout Café, Adjacent to the fire station, The Mall.
  • Eighteen 71 Cookhouse & Bar, Near Tourism Lift Hotel Willow Banks.

Hotels and Resorts – Accommodation in Shimla

Hotel Name Address
Shimla Havens Resort Village – Gahan, Gahan Road, Post, Summer Hill, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171005.PH:098160 91066
The Chalet’s Naldehra Shimla – Tatapani – Mandi Road, Durgapur, Shimla, Naldehra, Himachal Pradesh 171007. PH:0177 274 7715
Woodsmoke Resort & Spa Village Anandpur, P.O, Shoghi, Himachal Pradesh 171219. PH:098168 98166
Woodville Palace Hotel Raj Bhawan, Road, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171002. PH:0177 262 3919
Koti Resorts Sadhora,Baldeyan, Mashobra-Naldehra Road, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171007. PH:092185 01601

Nearby Roadtrip from Shimla

Route Distance Type of getaway
Shimla to Chandigarh 111 km Ideal for family vacations
Shimla to Kufri 14 km Scenic drive, ideal for couples
Shimla to Chail 45 km Hill station, romantic getaway
Shimla to Parwanoo 82 km Nature’s lap, is ideal for picnics with family
Shimla to Kasol 214 km Solo travelers

Highway News:

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